Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Fresh local government reform draft needed; NRC

Fresh local government reform draft needed; NRC


The Northland Regional Council has told the Local Government Commission it can’t support its draft proposal for a major revamp of local government in the region in its current form – and has asked it to do more work, then issue a fresh draft.

Chairman Bill Shepherd says that’s the crux of the formal submission the regional council had yesterday (subs: Tuesday, 18 February) filed with the commission ahead of Friday’s looming (21 February) deadline for comment on the commission’s ‘Draft Proposal for Reorganisation of Local Government in Northland’.

The commission (LGC) ended months of speculation in November last year when it announced its preferred local government model for Northland; a single unitary body supported by community boards which would come into existence late next year.

Councillor Shepherd says the regional council (NRC) does not want to lose the opportunity to build the best possible local government model for Northland, but says if any reform is to occur “it’s far more important to get any reorganisation done right; rather than to get it done fast”.

He says a very tight time-frame set down for the process by the LGC has meant Northlanders haven’t had a lot of time to understand and consider some of the very important implications of any change. The council also feels the commission needs to provide much more information across a range of areas.

Councillor Shepherd says collectively the NRC does agree with the commission that a single Northland-wide voice would be a significant advantage when advocating to central government and other parties and should deliver better plans and more efficient services.

“But of greater concern to us at this point, and at the heart of our opposition to the LGC’s current recommendation, is the commission’s heavy reliance on ‘community boards’. We think much stronger ‘local boards’ with their own powers and budgets are needed and given the law is changing to allow for them in Northland, we think the commission should wait until that change then issue a fresh draft reorganisation proposal.”

In a similar vein, the council felt any final proposal by the LGC should also wait until the law could be changed to allow a wider range of options for Māori representation/decision-making.

He says the council’s full submission covers many areas including its position on debt, claimed costs savings, service delivery, ward boundaries and where any new council should be based and is available on its website via www.nrc.govt.nz/LGreform

Councillors and staff had spent a great deal of time and effort in recent months investigating the pros and cons of the draft proposal and he and his fellow councillors were very grateful to the many Northlanders who had met with them – and shared their own views – on it.

“Since the LGC issued its draft proposal we’ve held public meetings in Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Omapere and Russell in the Far North and Kaiwaka in Kaipara late last year. More recently (after the holiday break) we’ve had further meetings in Ruakaka, Tutukaka, Parua Bay and Whangarei. We’ve also taken up invitations to meet with business groups in Kerikeri and Whangarei, with Kaipara ratepayer groups in Dargaville and with the Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP) in Kaitaia. We also recently took part in a panel on reform at Waitangi marae.”

Councillor Shepherd says local democracy is important “and for it to work it needs local communities to engage”.

“We’re delighted that people have taken the time to engage with us and they have helped us shape our views and our formal submission.”

Meanwhile, he says as with the three district councils in Northland, the regional council is continuing to encourage people to make their own submissions to the LGC ahead of its Friday deadline (subs: 21 Feb).

“With that deadline, the ball will be very much back in the Local Government Commission’s court in terms of the next steps in the process and we’ll be keeping a close watch on – and continuing to advocate on the community’s behalf – as the process does continue.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

2040 Target And Lower Standards: “Swimmable” Rivers Five Times More Likely To Make You Sick

Forest & Bird has condemned the government’s new water quality standards, warning New Zealanders that they lock in current levels of water pollution and allow for a 5-fold increase in the chance of getting sick from swimming in a river.

“Despite an explicit assurance from Minister Smith that the new water standards would provide for human and ecosystem health, he has failed to deliver on either of these things,” says Forest & Bird CEO Kevin Hague. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Immigration: Clampdown On Rogue Employers Good First Step

The Human Trafficking Research Coalition is pleased at the new clampdown on rouge employers who exploit migrants announced by Minister Woodhouse this morning, and believes this is a step in the right direction. More>>

ALSO:

Mayor: 750 New Social And Affordable Homes For Wellington (Over A Decade)

The next stage of Wellington’s Housing Upgrade Programme will see at least 750 new units of social and affordable housing built over the next decade, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

22/2: Christchurch Quake Memorial Unveiled

A city, a region, a nation and an international community impacted by the Canterbury Earthquakes will come together to mark the sixth anniversary of the deadly quake and dedicate Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. More>>

ALSO:


November Quakes:

Gordon Campbell: On The Mana-Maori Party Deal

If the self-interest involved wasn’t so blatant, the electorate deal between the Maori Party and Hone Harawira would be kind of poignant. It’s a bit like seeing the remaining members of Guns’n’Roses or the Eagles back on the road touring the nostalgia circuit… playing all the old hits of Maori unity and kaupapa Maori politics. More>>

ALSO:

Private Provision: First Social Bond To Focus On Mental Health

New Zealand’s first social bond will help around 1700 people with mental illness into work, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Social Investment Minister Amy Adams say. More>>

ALSO:

Immigration: Short Reprieve For Nine Indian Students

A temporary hold on deportations of nine Indian students is a step in the right direction but the Government urgently needs to implement safeguards to stop further injustices to more international students, the Green Party says. More>>

EARLIER:


Megaupload Case: High Court Rules Dotcom, Co-Accused Eligible For Extradion

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and his three co-accused are eligible for extradition to the United States, New Zealand's High Court ruled... Justice Murray Gilbert upheld a decision by the District Court that there were grounds for Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato to be extradited. More>>

ALSO:

PREVIOUSLY:

Port Hills Fire: Midday Update, Monday 20 February

• 9 homes destroyed
• 2 homes with partial damage. Damage includes things like cracked windows, heat damage.
• 3 properties with damage to other external structures e.g sheds or outbuildings More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news